Cane Points: Family Safety More Important than Bacolod's Image

Aksyon Bryan Morden of DYEZ interviewed last Monday night a professor from Davao City who was robbed, along with his two companions, by riding-in-tandem gunmen when they visited Bacolod City for a professional conference last week (Sept. 20-22).

Receiving reports of robberies and thefts victimizing residents of Bacolod City is alarming enough. Listening to a tourist, who had high expectations of enjoying his Bacolod trip, narrate his ordeal at the hands of criminals lording it over Bacolod City raises the citizens' fear and disgust several notches higher.

He posted his harrowing experience in his social media page. For his and his companions' privacy, Cane Points will not mention their names. Here's the post:

"This is to publicly inform everyone that I and two of my colleagues in the LGBT Special Interest Group of the Psychological Association of the Philippines were held up at gunpoint by a riding in tandem at around 9:30PM post-dinner outside Bascon Cafe, Montelibano St. near University of St. La Salle-Bacolod City.

Our phones and our bags were forcibly taken but we are safe now. All my identification cards, cash, ATM card, receipts, plane ticket, journal notebook, keys, USBs, and Rosaries were inside my stolen bag.

You can currently contact me through FB Messenger, since I have yet to replace my SIM and my phone when I fly back to Davao tomorrow.

We have reported the incident to Bacolod City Police Station 4.

For many weeks now, daily incidents of hold up robbery have been reportedly occurring in Bacolod City. It is so unfortunate that even the delegates of the Psychological Association of the Philippines 54th Annual Convention would have to experience such mortifying threats to peace and order.

If these robbery hold ups can occur on a daily basis like a new Negrense norm, they speak volumes about the state of governance of security in Bacolod City.

Apparently, there is peace and order systems failure in the City of Smiles. If this situation won't be addressed sooner than later, the City of Smiles will certainly turn into a City of Horror.

Such a shame that the City of Smiles has become an enclave of "hold-uppers" who brazenly victimize ordinary people.

I leave Bacolod horrified! Believe me, the harrowing experience is exceedingly traumatic.

This shameless pageantry of criminality should stop, stop, stop!"

These incidents have become so rampant that even taxi drivers cautioned the victim and his companions to be alert and vigilant. They followed the advice. They did not go out on their own, they travelled in groups and they did not venture out late at night.

When they had dinner that fateful night, they selected a reputable restaurant along a well-lit street with moderate vehicle traffic. Prudent decision, but it all came to nothing.

They wanted to stay a little longer at Bascon resto after eating but, according to the victim, the waiter explained that they have to close early because the resto might be robbed. A few minutes after the group stepped out of the resto, they were robbed.

In his interview, the victim called on Bacolod Mayor Bing Leonardia and the police to convene the city's peace and order council and address this issue head on.

Netizens have been slamming city officials and the police for this state of lawlessless in Bacolod. They posted memes in social media with the hashtag "BacolodNotSafe".

"By posting and sharing 'It's not safe in Bacolod,' you are destroying the image of your hometown. Let us just be vigilant without spreading fear and unhelpful posts," a city official said.

Don't sabotage the upcoming MassKara Festival, another city official added.

While the preservation of the city's "clean, peaceful and business-friendly" image is valid, it takes a backseat to the Bacole?os' concern over the security and well-being of their families.

Bacolod will project a wholesome image to attract tourists and businessmen, only to have that image destroyed, that projection shattered, that lie unmasked when the tourists and businessmen come to Bacolod and are victimized by robbers and thieves?

Citizens will continue slamming Bacolod City officials and police for the spate of crimes occurring in the city, as long they see no progress in their personal security.

What city officials and police are currently doing apparently are not enough to stop the lawlessness. They have to dig deeper into their bag of tricks, and even think way out of the box, to stop these motley crew who are terrorizing the city residents. It is results, not effort, that count.*

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